Brooklyn, Michigan, July 21, 2001 Patrick Carpentier sat on the provisional pole for a long time during Saturday's qualifying for the Harrah's 500 at Michigan International Speedway, but rain washed away his hopes of claiming his third CART pole...
Brooklyn, Michigan, July 21, 2001 Patrick Carpentier sat on the provisional pole for a long time during Saturday's qualifying for the Harrah's 500 at Michigan International Speedway, but rain washed away his hopes of claiming his third CART pole as officials called the session off after a 90-minute delay, which means that the grid for the race will be based on Saturday morning's practice times.
Carpentier was the fifth driver to take to the two-mile super speedway for qualifying and he registered a top speed of 221.777 mph with a lap of 32.465 seconds. Three drivers later, as Memo Gidley was getting ready to take the green flag, rain began to fall and did not relent. As a result, Carpentier will end up 21st on the grid.
"Even though it's always better to start up front, you're only going to hold on to your starting position for about one lap on a super speedway, so it doesn't make a huge difference," said Carpentier, who has finished in the top 10 in his last three visits at MIS and recorded the third-fastest time on Friday. "In any event, it would have been hard for me to stay on the pole because with the clouds coming in, the track was cooling off pretty quickly, but then it started to rain so that was the end of it."
His teammate Alex Tagliani, who waited in vain for his turn to qualify, was a little disappointed with the outcome, after posting the 24th-fastest time in morning practice while focusing mainly on race set-ups.
"I think Team Player's had the car to start much closer to the front, but here you can gain as many as 10 positions in one lap," said Tagliani, who is coming off his best finish with a second place at last weekend's Molson Indy Toronto. "If the track is slippery, we'll be conservative at first and then modify our strategy as conditions change, but we have a great car for the race and all we have to do is stay with the leaders."
With the fastest time during Saturday morning's practice, championship leader Kenny Brack will start on the pole for the third time this season (he will not, however, be awarded a point) and share the front row with teammate Max Papis. Japanese driver Tora Takagi will start from the third spot on the grid, alongside Canada's Paul Tracy.
Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the 250-lap race live on The Sports Network starting at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.